Maximum Ride, based on the YA book series by James Patterson, is a terrible movie. But I don’t mean that is a bad way, it’s just a fact.
Every aspect of this film is amateurish. The writing, the acting, the direction, the effects, the score, the sound mixing…
And yet I had a real good time watching it.
I was actually excited to see this because I went down a crazy rabbit role with a different James Patterson series for kids: Daniel X. Checking out the comic adaptions and the video game and even eventually reading the actual first book, it kept delivering surprising morsels of entertainment. It’s terrible, but enthralling. That series is a whole different kind of beast, but I knew what I was getting into here to an extent.
Although I will say I wasn’t quite prepared for how bad the filmmaking actually is here. But that’s a good thing; the terribleness of this movie made it a much more interesting experience than if it has just been competent.
All the heroes speak with the same voice (Not in like a literal, purposeful way like in Anomalisa); they have no characteristics to differentiate them, just some general sassiness and all the actors say their lines in the same kind of emotionless bored tone. It’s terrible acting, but it’s that exact level of monotone consistently and the script is so bad anyway that it ends up being kind of endearing.
The same is true for basically every part of the movie.
The effects in particular are just so bad and cheap. This is a movie where our heroes can all sprout wings and fly, and the scenes of them flying involve really CGI constructs with the actors faces super imposed on top of them. It’s glorious.
There’s an explosion scene that is just perfect bad filmmaking: the staging makes no sense, the size of the explosion makes no sense, the explosion effect might as well be a still image, no one dies or is even really hurt by it, and it just makes a big fire with little structural damage. Sublime.
My favorite part is a flashback where a small boy delivers a tirade to a small girl while he holds scissors behind his back. We know, through exposition about his eye-scar already delivered in the film, that those scissors actually get turned back around on him.
My one disappointment with this movie is that a scene where one child stabs another child in the eyes with scissors is talked around but never explicitly shown.
This is not a movie that should be in theaters at all, but for me seeing it in a theater was a real treat. If you like bad movies, (like, real pieces of shit) this one’s for you.